Chasing Butterflies, or Living in the Moment

by Mira

Some thoughts on living in the moment (carpe diem), with a handful of inspirational life quotes around the theme of prioritizing love, beauty, and the feeling of flow.

This all started with an image I’ve seen of students in the US with large nets chasing butterflies. It seemed so otherworldly. Then, years later, I started thinking about it more.

The way I like to see it is that I don’t think they meant to keep the butterflies. To me they were like sport fishermen who didn’t keep their catch, who fished only for recreation, to be in nature and empty their mind.

So then chasing butterflies was a way of chasing the moment, enjoying the ride with those butterflies nets in hand, the glimpse of a colorful butterfly zigzagging in the air, and the moment of seeing it up-close; and then enjoying the moment of releasing the butterfly, seeing it disappear into the thin air it came from.

Living in the moment, in other words. That’s what this article is about.

Remember to chase butterflies – jumbo mug

Remember to chase butterflies
Remember to chase butterflies

I wrote on the topic a while ago, on January 28 (2013), and I posted the page on my blog. The main idea there was that we try to control the outcomes of many of our life's long-term projects, which ends up killing the moment. And by doing that, it saps our soul, which longs for freedom: freedom to enjoy the moment no matter what the outcome.

So now that I’ve got that idea out of the way, let me turn to some other thoughts I found on Pinterest, all related to the topic of Carpe diem, which fascinates me lately, both in times when I do more of it and in times when I only have time for very little of it.

When things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting

Sometimes we want the wrong things. (As they say, be careful what you wish for.) And then those wrong things don’t add up.

The way I choose to interpret the above quote is that it's not about people who have too much by way of family or activities they enjoy, but rather about people who place importance on things that somehow don’t connect enough with their innermost selves. They may go after power not because they want power but rather because they want the paycheck that comes with it. In the process, they may even get to believe that they enjoy their new position at work and in society with all the accoutrements it involves.

And then all of a sudden you, the outsider, learn that their world has collapsed and that there were deep cracks all along. So here's a message to stay aware that not all that glitters is gold. It's such a cliché and yet I'm always surprised to see how many people don't see through the glitter, how many people are blinded by it. At the same time, not having the lifestyle they have, I can't really see what's to be appreciated in it either.

When things aren't adding up in your life, start subtracting Meme – T-Shirt

When things aren't adding up, start subtracting
When things aren't adding up, start s...

When things don't add up in your life, start subtracting Meme – T-Shirt

When things don't add up, start subtracting
When things don't add up, start subtr...

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Remember Me?: A Novel
$1.23  $5.95

Sophie Kinsella weighs on the topic in a feel-good girlie book

A book that reflects on some of the issues above in a fun, light-hearted but not flippant way, is Sophie Kinsella’s chick lit novel Remember Me?, which I have just finished. Kinsella is a great storyteller, and speaks from a lot of experience. I loved her descriptions of relationships in the book. They were quite evocative.

So, the storyline. Well, it’s about young Lexi who has a car accident and wakes up with amnesia. She remembers herself as a twenty-five-year-old in 2004 who had a low-paying job and a boyfriend she called Loser Dave. When she wakes up, it’s 2007, she has an expensive purse, a high-powered job, a millionaire husband, and a lover on the side.

It’s all easy addictive reading, highly predictable, but it does raise some important issues.

Wherever you are, be all there. – Jim Elliot

Admittedly, that’s rather hard, given that as Siri Hustvedt says in The Summer without Men, “I put my head on the desk, thinking bitterly that it wasn’t even my own, and wept.”

Still, on a less philosophical level, this can be interpreted in many ways of practical relevance. Don’t spend a lot of time with people you can’t be yourself with. Look for a job that can involve more of your soul and its passions. And so on.


That’s not a quote from Pinterest. It’s just something that spoke to me loudly when I saw on Z. a Love stamp with pebbles on a seashore in the shape of a heart. It’s so important to connect with people in meaningful ways as often as we can, and live the moment with them. That being said, remember that “Only a few people care. The rest are just being curious.”

Heart, Stethoscope, and an ECG Line

Heart, Stethscope, and a Nurse's T-Shirt
Heart, Stethscope, and a Nurse's T-Shirt

Live in the moment! In Gothic script

At first I really liked this Zazzle product for the irony of it all: the message of “Live in the moment” spelled out in Gothic script. (The medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan said.) Then I realized that there really is value for the moment, for the present time, as we get to know each other better dwelling on events of the past. It’s not just nostalgia. It’s really building awareness about who we are, getting to know ourselves (and each other, if we're talking about the past in a relationship) better. But then again, some say the ego is just a fiction we cling to and that in fact there is no coherent ego to speak of. Also, as someone said, “Of course I live in the past: it’s cheaper there!”

Live in the moment Tee, with Gothic script

Live in the moment Tee (Gothic script)
Live in the moment Tee (Gothic script)

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

This idea, in Neale Donald Walsch's version, seems to be an all-time favorite with many people, and of course it has a lot to do with living the moment. The comfort zone is often another name for routine. The moment is the unknown. We should hurl towards it with all our being every now and then. Some people, in fact, do it quite often, and quite successfully, too, in terms of financing the operations. One of them is Lesley Carter, whom you may know from (She travels around the world seeking bucket-list-style experiences.)

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone coffee mug
Ad Zazzle


To me, music is one of the most accessible ways of living in the moment. It’s so wonderful, for instance, how when we’re in love music becomes so very significant in conveying our emotions, and even encapsulating the magic of an experience or another.

Those who can also make music are doubly blessed. 




I Heart Music T-shirt, with an upside-down G clef and an F clef

I Heart Music, with G and F clefs
I Heart Music, with G and F clefs

Make some art

And drink some tea

I think making art is for everyone and is one surefire way to get yourself to be present in the moment. I dabbled in (figuratively abstract) acrylic painting for a while, on paper and on cotton cloth, and found the experience amazing in every way. I would work intensely for 2-3 hours and then wonder how come I had lost the sense of time all the while.

I also love taking walks and photographs. And I make bead necklaces now and then.

And I design on Zazzle, alone or in collaboration with other graphic artists.

Whoever is tired of tea is tired of life – Greeting Card

Tired of tea, tired of life
Tired of tea, tired of life

Write some

As you continue to drink tea

Certain writing I do also gets me to live in the moment. I love, for instance, writing poems when I feel the possibility of one shaping up inside. The moments when these poetic moods strike and I can act on them are some of my most treasured precisely because I am thankful for having the freedom at those times to be in the moment.

I'm also thankful for those moments when I can take in a book, movie, environment, conversation, etc. in a state of mind that allows me to come up with quotes for Zazzle.

Because Tea Finds Happy – Bone-China Mug

Because Tea Finds Happy
Because Tea Finds Happy

Speaking of tea,

Find some great tea houses or invite friends over for a cuppa

Chatting over tea or coffee is great, and yet sometimes we turn our meetings with friends into big affairs that involve dinners we can't quite afford. And then we wonder why we don't go out often enough. Sometimes all you need to have a great time with friends in town is a nice cuppa.

Or a nice walk and a nice cuppa.

Reading, watching movies, cooking, etc. Being in nature. Using all the senses.

Reading when I’m still rested enough, really immersing myself in a book, also feels like being all in the moment. So does watching a movie, taking a walk in the park and observing the crowd, or going for a swim. Come to think of it, we have many ways of enjoying the present moment. Of immersing ourselves in an experience without appearing to think of anything else. If only we were paid to exist . . . um, live.

Well, those were some of my thoughts on how to live in the moment. I'd love to hear what works for you, what makes you happy!

Updated: 12/24/2020, Mira
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
Mira on 06/24/2018

It's the "doina." It can be a poem or a song, and it's a mixture of happiness and sadness. The sentiment that moves it is related to saudade, but the expression is different.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/21/2018

Mira, What poetic forms are particularly popular in Romania? Is there a form that can be said to be quintessentially Romanian?

Mira on 08/10/2013

Thank you!

ologsinquito on 08/09/2013

Nice thoughts with a great perspective.

Mira on 06/06/2013

Thank you, Dave!

davestone13 on 06/05/2013

Nice work on an inexhaustibly interesting topic.

Mira on 05/21/2013

Thank you, Katie!

katiem2 on 05/21/2013

So glad I saw this today, I needed this message.

Mira on 05/19/2013

Thank you, Sally! :)

kimbesa on 05/19/2013

Thanks for a fresh approach to some memorable ideas!

You might also like

Sunflower Jewelry in Sterling Silver and Gold

Sunflowers make for great jewelry. Here's a selection of sunflower necklaces,...

Inspirational Quote Rings in Affordable Sterling Silver

Valentine’s Day is a time when many people buy rings for their special one. C...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...